Insiders are telling Insider Louisville that Tommy Smith, president and CEO of Louisville-based Baptist Healthcare System, will retire next year.
Smith has been Baptist Healthcare CEO since 1995. And no, we don’t know why the board is announcing his departure 10 months out.
The announcement is guaranteed to launch internal maneuvering for the CEO suite, our source say.
And this may be related to Baptist Healthcare being a possible partner in a merger with the University of Louisville.
Smith will be difficult to replace. He moved Baptist Healthcare firmly past competitors including Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare, which was absorbed in January by Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives.
Baptist Healthcare operates five Kentucky hospitals – two in the Louisville area, one in Lexington, one in Corbin and one in Paducah. The system manages Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown. Baptist Healthcare also operates about nine smaller facilities including express care clinics.
Here’s the internal email posted in full:
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 8:03 AM
To: BHS Executive Management
Cc: BHS Executive Assistants
Subject: BAPTIST ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Please see the email below regarding an important transition for our hospital and affiliated entities.
To the Baptist boards, employees and physician leadership:
I wanted to personally share with you that Tommy J. Smith, president and chief executive officer at Baptist Healthcare System, has announced his retirement effective April 15, 2013.
Mr. Smith has served our organization for 37 years, and has been in his current role since 1995. He has been instrumental in Baptist Healthcare System becoming one of Kentucky’s largest healthcare systems.
A search committee composed of Baptist Healthcare System board members is working to evaluate qualified candidates for Mr. Smith’s successor.
The person chosen to follow Tommy Smith will step into a coveted leadership position at the helm of one of the Commonwealth’s most successful healthcare companies. That’s due – in large part – to the integrity, quiet determination and consistent vision set forth by Tommy Smith. Our primary goal in selecting a successor is to find someone who can carry forward the Baptist culture that is at the core of our success, and build on the incredibly strong foundation that readies us for a promising future.
In recent years, Mr. Smith has expanded Baptist Healthcare’s state presence beyond its five owned hospitals by partnering with Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown (since 1997) and Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center in Richmond, both under management agreements. Baptist Healthcare has grown its physician network to more than 400 employed physicians and more than 1,600 independent physicians statewide.
Mr. Smith will remain actively involved in his remaining months as president and CEO in preparation for a smooth transition. More important, he is leaving this fine organization in the capable hands of his leadership team, board and the thousands of valued employees across Kentucky.
We are grateful for Tommy’s leadership and service over the years. I hope you’ll join me in expressing our thanks, and warm congratulations on his upcoming retirement.
Frank “Rusty” Purdy
Baptist Healthcare System